Did you miss your chance to see the most popular shows playing at the Toronto Fringe Festival this year? Not to fear, because, this year’s Best of Fringe is here. Several shows that did extremely well at this year’s Fringe are playing at the Toronto Centre for the Arts (5040 Yonge Street) until July 30th. All tickets are $21.75 in total – so here’s your chance to see the shows you’ve missed (or want to see again) for cheap!
By Samantha Wu
The bloody Shakespeare tragedy Titus Andronicus is playing this summer at Toronto’s High Park
This year, Canadian Stage brings another duo of Shakespearean theatre to the ampitheatre in Toronto’s High Park. Playing alongside the comedy As You Like It is Shakespeare’s first tragedy, Titus Andronicus, known as his bloodiest production. It’s a shocking choice to make, bringing this lesser known and rather gory production to Shakespeare in High Park — an event known to be family friendly. It’s a production that is comparable to Game of Thrones simply for the staggering body count.
Spamalot is a fun musical for Monty Python fans playing at Toronto’s Lower Ossington Theatre
Spamalot tells the legendary tale of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table – sort of – and features a wide variety of silly things, including flying cows, killer rabbits, Knights who say “Ni”, men-who-are-almost-but-not-quite-dead-yet, and shrubberies. In short, it’s what you would expect of a work written and reworked by a member of Monty Python.
Shakespeare’s Gender-Bending As You Like It Opens In High Park
I attended Tuesday night’s performance of As You Like It a little daunted as it’s been a while since I’ve seen Shakespeare live and because I’ve never read the play. As a young person, it took about one act before I became somewhat comfortable with the language of Renaissance England. I was pleasantly surprised by the accessibility of Canadian Stage’s production.
As You Like It is a comedy full of romance, intrigue and gender reversal. Frederick usurps his older brother’s kingdom, banishes him to the woods and allows his daughter, Rosalind, to remain at court to keep her cousin, Celia, company. The usurping duke fears Rosalind will overtake him and forces her into exile as well.
Meanwhile, Orlando, youngest son of Sir Roland de Boys, is ousted by his oldest brother and meets Rosalind while in a wrestling match at court. The two fall in love, but under the threat of death, flee the royal court. Read the rest of this entry »
This fun musical about presidential shootings is on stage at the George Ignatieff Theatre in Toronto
In simple terms, Assassins (playing the George Ignatieff Theatre) is a musical about shooting the president. Each of the nine men and women featured is based on a real historical figure, and through Stephen Sondheim’s lyrics and music (built around John Weidman’s story), we get a unique perspective on the American dream. How much do these people — the insane, the desperate, the thwarted and the under-appreciated — have in common? How well do we really understand their motives? And what does this uniquely American habit of killing their leaders say about the conscience and nature of that nation?
Heavy stuff for a musical, but if anyone can pull it off, it’s StageWorks. Here, supported by some outstanding character work and several bold staging decisions, they make delightful stuff out of one of Sondheim’s darkest, most difficult, and most rewarding pieces.
By Mark Mann
Toronto families perform choreographed routines outside their homes in Porch View Dances
If there’s one thing that strangers do really well, it’s breaking your heart.
Life is weird and sometimes beautiful, but it’s easy to forget all that. It just seems normal. Then some person you don’t know will step out their front door and do something so utterly terrifying it boggles the mind — namely, perform a dance — and all of a sudden you start secretly crying because people are so exquisitely themselves. Admittedly, that sort of thing doesn’t happen very often, but it is happening right now in the Annex, as Kaeja d’Dance pairs families with professional choreographers to create collaborative dance-works in front of their own homes.
Porch View Dances takes audiences on a tour of four such dances throughout Seaton Village neighbourhood, along with one roving contact-dance piece and a participatory performance in Vermont Square Park.
Ah, Cheap Theatre. It’s so easy to forget that it exists outside of the Fringe, with its wide variety of super cheap shows. But I’m here to tell you that it does exist! And there are a lot of really interesting shows playing in Toronto right now, for $25 or less. Each of the shows explores an original idea – whether it’s the difficulties of taking care of an ailing parent, singing assassins, or dancing on apartment balconies, you won’t regret seeing some Cheap Theatre this week.
Well. The Toronto Fringe Festival is officially over, and we’re all suffering from theatre withdrawal. But you don’t have to! Check out the list of shows playing in Toronto for the week of July 14th, 2014, and get your theatre fix. All shows marked with two asterisks and coloured red are highly recommended by our Managing Editor, Wayne.
We Liked 100% Presale. This was the most financially-successful Toronto Fringe Festival in recent memory, with artist revenues skyrocketing and a record number of sellout performances. Every festival has their winners and losers: for every company who raked in a few thousand bucks, someone else lost their shirt. But that’s the nature of the beast — and never before have there been so many winners.
We Disliked 100% Presale. The presale policy was fantastic for the artists, but angry Tweets and indignant queue-chatter both suggest that the resultant parade of SOLD OUT signs has left plenty of theatregoers with 10-packs burning holes in their pockets and beefs to pick with the festival. Maybe there’s a sweet spot between 50% and 100%; maybe Fringe should sell rush tickets next year (10 names on the comp list, but only 2 showed up? Why aren’t you selling those 8 seats? [editorial clarification: If someone is on a comp list the spot can be released and ticket sold. However, if they have been issued a *physical* comp ticket - for instance a member of the media - their spot can *not* be released unless they have been able to notify ticketing in advance. The feeling seems to be their empty seat, visible by a final check before closing the doors, should be up for grabs by waiting list folks. - Megan Mooney]); maybe Fringe just needs to do a better job communicating which shows are sold out. But however they repair this damage, Fringe has to get on it soon. Read the rest of this entry »